Saturday, July 25, 2009

One Last Play....

This post is bitter sweet on many levels for me. First on Dad's passing. I don't think that death is something you are ever fully prepared to deal with, no matter how expected or unexpected it is. This one was quite unexpected. Dad's overall health had been getting gradually worse over the past few years. Diabetes and a nasty concussion had taken a toll on him physically. Recently he had made some comments to others that sometimes the pain was just too much and that at times he thought that it might just be easier to give up. For Dad to admit that to anyone says allot. We now suspect that he was hiding from us how he really felt because he didn't want us to worry. But I know where he is now and whatever pain he was in is now gone. While this is comforting to know it doesn't make it any easier to accept. I've been through all 4 of my grandparents deaths, but this was far and away the most difficult. I've come to the conclusion that my feeble earthly ADULT mind just can't comprehend the glory that is heaven. I envy my son Ben because he gets it. He wasn't really sad thru this ordeal. At one point he and I were driving in the car and he asked why I was so sad. I told him it was because I was not going to get to see Pops anymore and he told me that "its okay, we'll go see him one day". He gets it. It really is a time to rejoice because we will see each other again someday. A friend of ours from Houston sent me a note saying that losing a parent changes you forever. I agree. I don't think I will ever be the same. A piece of me died on early Wednesday morning when we got the call.

The second aspect of this ordeal that makes this bittersweet is the outpouring of love and concern that our friends and church family gave us. I am humbled beyond words and it brings tears to my eyes when I think of what people have done and continue to do for my family and especially for my Mom. To those in Calgary who offered to drive us to the airport at the crack of dawn. To my 2 college friends and their wives that dropped what they were doing and came to the funeral - I cannot put into words how much your presence meant to me at the funeral and I will NEVER forget it. To Rochelle, we can't say thank you enough for the childcare you provided. My heart is touched that you would come up to do that. And to my mother-in-law, I know it meant so much to Mom that you flew out to be with us during this time and we are so appreciative. To all of the current and former church and work friends of the family, the hugs and wishes really helped. If you know me well, that says allot. I don't do hugs outside of my immediate family, but the past few days I've hugged many people and each one of them was a huge encouragement and lifted me up. But most of all, I want to thank my wife Carrie. She carried me through this weekend and pretty much did everything that I was just not in any shape to do. Please continue to pray for my Mom as she now has to transition into this new life.

Now for the title of this post. As you know, we were here just a few short weeks ago and had a great visit with my parents. Dad was even getting down in the floor and playing with the boys which is something that he hasn't done in awhile. After we left, Mom mentioned that he must have been feeling better but he said, "No, not really. I just wanted to do it." At some point this week Carrie and Ben were talking and Ben said, "I'm glad we got to have one last play with Pops before heaven."

Me too son.

I love you so much Dad and I will miss you every day until we see you again.


Here are a pictures from that last visit that didn't make the post from our last visit in TX.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camping Trip...

The boys had a blast playing in Ben's spider man tent! Thanks Mops!
Roasting Marshmallows

Camping Mama's ....

Piled up on Earle in the morning....he was still pretty tired!

Suspension Bridge

a prairie dog....random...

Here is one of the cliffs we climbed to the top of....would you be scared that your kids would fall off?

Steve and the triplets at the top of a cliff....Us on the top of a cliff...

Our friends, Aisling and Steve Gamble invited us up for a weekend at their camp site. Our family has never actually been camping before, since we have had kids, but we decided that the boys would absolutely love it, even if it wore us completely out! So we went and had a great time! We stayed for one night and two days and got to do all of the "camping things". We slept in our tent, but luckily for a city girl like me, Steve and Aisling had a nice RV that we could shower, use the bathroom in, cook dinner and watch movies and so on, so I would not exactly call what we did "roughing it". But it was good! The campground was in Drumheller, AB....the same place that we went to the dinosaur museum a few months ago. There was actually a nice swimming pool and playground at the camp site. And the boys had a good time riding their bikes around and playing in the tents. Our boys also got to experience their first campfire, where they roasted marshmallows and ate smores. I think they may have even made up a scary story or two. The Gambles have 4yr. old triplet boys; Keegan, Connolly and Josh. They are quite accustomed to the wild boy behaviours that Earle and I are used it was easy to relax and let the, "Lord of the Flies" rule in most of the circumstances...although I think that every boy had at least one major meltdown before the end of the trip....well, maybe not Josh. We took a trip out to the Suspension Bridge and climbed up the cliffs where the coal mines had been. It was absolutely beautiful at the top! I have never taken Ben and Collin hiking up to the tops of cliffs before, so I was more than a little bit nervous that Ben was going to get too close and fall off into oblivion...but Earle told me to calm down because I was freaking out way too much...we held Collin the whole time. :)We also went into town and took the kids to an aquatic center with a great water slide! Even though we had a hard time containing Collin around the camping site, it was totally worth it! We had a great time and saw some absolutely beautiful things. The boys LOVED every minute of it! Thank you Gambles for inviting us!! We may have to do it a couple of times a year from here on out!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stampede Weekend...

This weekend we decided to go to the Stampede on Saturday evening. The Stampede is a very big deal here in Calgary. I was not really wanting to go...but Earle said that we "had" to experience I succumbed. It actually ended up being a great cool evening and the kids had a good time. My friend Becky Hammond joined us. We rode a couple of rides, saw what all the fuss was about and experience a couple samplings of food that I do not ever want to know the nutritional value of.

Fried Oreos....they also had fried Twinkies and snickers bars...but these are what we tried.

Me and Rebel Hammond

Ben was sad because he was not tall enough to go on most of the rides...he likes the scary ones that most adults don't love going on...but, he was able to ride the kiddie roller coaster...accompanied of course....oh to be 48 inches tall...maybe next year...he was 45.

Ben chose this hat for himself...quite nice, I think.

Pizza on a stick...a great idea, I think for kids...not so messy, I think I might have to recreate a little version of this for birthday party food!!

Cowboy Collin...
After church this afternoon we just went to the park for a picnic. They loved it...I think we should do it every weekend until the snow comes back!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's Smiling at us.....

We arrived back in Calgary on Monday. It is such a strange feeling to be glad to be home but yet anxious about the fact that we know we are not going to be here for much longer. I am surprised that though I knew it would be a while before we would be back to the U.S., I got that warm, happy feeling as we were driving back to our home. While we were gone, our little garden in the front yard bloomed beautifully! It was as though this place was smiling at us and glad we were back. I feel strangely at home here in my little pocket of life, that continues far away from what I am used to. Other than the fact that our family and close friends are so far away, I think that our little family would have been quite happy if we had had the option to stay here. We would have rather enjoyed it! I have never tended to a garden before, I always have made excuses that I am horrible at gardening. This one was already there, under all of the weeds, so pulling up the weeds and cutting everything back was really pretty easy. I have learned that I enjoy taking care of this garden. It is quite therapeutic actually. In my head while I have been working in this garden, I have thought that this was kind of like my tiny garden of Eden...minus the snakes, of course. And how symbolic this little garden is to me. How God told us to to tend to his garden, when we pull up the weeds in our own lives how beautiful things become. How we are to try to bloom where he plants us, even if there are quite a few weeds to be pulled first. I also thought about how every year when the flowers die, they always come back the next year...kind of like the rainbow sign, it is yet another sign of God's promise to us. It is like He is smiling at us too. It is like God is telling me to relax, enjoy where I am, don't be anxious about the next step, stretch out and take it all in, and He'll take care of the rest. That is kind of what I feel like doing! I feel strangely at peace about what is to come....I am saying this all now of course! We'll see in about three months how calm I am feeling!! Anyway, just thought I would share!!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Part 3...Paducah Visit

Lauren, Collin, Luke and Ben

Me and Ma

Mom and the kids!
Birthday Party at Amanda's for Ma and Bu...she made a GREAT cake!

Lorie and Ma

The best of buddies...

Someone let Ben loose on a motorized car....he loved it, everyone else was scared to death...including me after his dad told me about it!Papa took Ben and Lauren fishingBen's big catch...

Ryan and Lauren and her big catch...

Luke and Collin on a Wagon ride...

We got to have Keith and Becky and their girls, Payton and Alli, come visit us one afternoon at my was so good to see them!
Me and Bek
Ben, Alli, Payton

Ben and Payton always have such a great time together no matter how long it has been since they have seen the other one! They were so cute and presented a play to us that was hilarious!

Alli and Collin

Sisterly Fun
Lorie and I decided to entertain ourselves on the 4th of July by taking funny faced pictures of each other. It may not be funny to you but we totally cracked ourselves up...we wanted Amanda to join, but she was afraid I might post them...she was right!! I think she had a good time laughing at the ones we thought were funny.
Don't mess with me, you've crossed the line face!
Lorie's Lizzard face
This is my best impression of someone's(who will remain nameless) empathetic look!

Lorie's checking herself out in the mirror face....
We were laughing too hard to take more!

We had such a great time in Paducah getting to visit with my parents, Ryan and Amanda, Lorie, Ma and Bu. I was so glad Keith and Becky got to come up to see us! We also were able to stop in Murphreesboro on our way to the Nasville airport to see Robert and Besty Coggin. We had a great time visiting with them and getting to see their sweet little boy Nik, who is about the age of Collin...I forgot to bring in my camera for that one...We had a great vacation and are back to Calgary and enjoying some more awesome weather!! We are unsure of when our next trip back to the U.S. will be...but it will probably be a house hunting trip....where, we do not yet know! Three places that have been mentioned to us recently are: back to Lousiania, Houston, or a tiny possibility of the Denver area. These could always change in an instant, so it is hard to hang our hat on anything right now! The next few months will reveal what the next chapter is for it should be interesting to see what God has in store for us! Hope everyone is having a great week!!